It was only a matter of time before someone wised up and gave Tony Malaby his own session. The young tenor-saxophonist has been making waves as a sideman with, among others, Marty Ehrlich, Tom Varner, and George Schuller. On this release, he proves he’s a bandleader with good ideas of his own.
Such as giving his quartet, with guitarist Marc Ducret, bassist Michael Formanek, and drummer Tom Rainey, free rein. Malaby’s tunes are simple but they pack a hefty lyrical punch, and they set the stage for everyone to cut loose. Having all worked together in other outfits, this foursome enjoy an easy conversational rapport that lets them ascend to heights of emotional intensity on " Remolino/Hamza " and " Ajo Comino. " On " Cosas " they relax with playful back-and-forth over a slinky groove. The contemplative " Gate’s Pass " features especially sensitive group interplay, and " Third Mystery " finds them all pursuing independent lines that nevertheless cohere into a complex whole. These guys are some of the craftiest and quickest-witted improvisers around, and under Malaby’s leadership, they get to use all their talent.
Issue Date: June 14 - 21, 2001